Imagine you're running late to that all-important meeting or your loved one's soccer practice, only for your garage door to get stuck at the last minute. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for this "highly reliable" piece of equipment to suddenly freeze up and become exceptionally hard to open using conventional means.
The following offers some helpful tips on how you can keep your garage door from holding an impromptu jam session of its own.
Make Sure It's Not Just the Garage Door Opener
It's easy to assume that a bigger failure has taken place somewhere within your garage door's various components. But sometimes the answer to your garage door woes could be right under your nose--or in this case, right above your head. Garage door openers save you the trouble of putting your own muscle into opening and closing your garage door. However, it could also be the source of your troubles. Here's a quick way to rule out problems with your garage door opener:
- Make sure the garage door is in the closed position. You may also want to disconnect power from the garage door itself for good measure.
- Locate and pull the garage door opener's emergency release cord. This will effectively separate the garage door opener from the door itself.
- Try opening the garage door by hand. If you're able to smoothly lift the garage door open, then there is likely a problem with the garage door opener. If the garage door jams up at any point, then it's time to look at the door itself.
Check the Rollers and Tracks
Your garage door relies on a series of rollers to help move it along its track with little to no drama. Think of them like the tires on your car – they'll wear out sooner or later and your door won't go anywhere when they do. Look for signs of excessive wear and tear on metal rollers. On nylon rollers, carefully check the surface for nicks, pockmarks and missing chunks. If you do see signs of wear and tear on the rollers, don't hesitate to replace them as soon as possible.
If the rollers are your garage door's tires, then the tracks are the road it rides on. Foreign objects and debris from outdoors can give your rollers a hard time as they roll along the track. Bits and pieces of old, hardened grease can also cause trouble. It's a good idea to clean debris-filled tracks with a reliable solvent and a clean cloth. Don't forget to wipe away all traces of the solvent prior to re-lubricating the rollers, tracks and other moving parts of your garage door hardware.
Check the Springs and Cables
It's not unusual for the garage door cables to come off of their drums and wind up stuck. In some cases, the cable can also break due to old age, excessive wear and tear or weakness due to rust and corrosion. This could easily unbalance the garage door, leaving it to sit crooked after attempts to open the door fail. Carefully check the cables for signs of wear or damage and replace them as necessary.
It's also a good idea to check your garage door's torsion or extension springs for any signs of wear and tear. A garage door spring brought to its limit through constant wear or neglect can weaken significantly or break altogether, making it much harder or even impossible to properly open your garage door. Be careful when replacing the garage door springs, as there are plenty of safety hazards to be aware of once you get started.
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